A LECTURER from Huddersfield is in the forefront of building bridges with war-torn Iraq.
Rasheda Zaher, 33, an English teacher at the Technical College, went to Iraq last July - just after the fall of Saddam Hussein - to help forge links with the shattered country and boost its educational reconstruction.
"It's like a different country now to what it was under Saddam," she said.
Rasheda has also taken out modern books worth thousands of pounds. "I feel I'm doing something for the reconstruction," she said.
She first visited Iraq for a month in April, 2001, travelling with her husband to the progressive university city of Duhok in Kurdistan.
She met her Kurdish husband, Kamal Draey, 40, when they were studying together in London.
They have four children, Hafsah, 12, Aminah, 11, Ruqayyah, 10, and Abderahman, six.
They returned to Iraq for a prolonged stay in September, 2001, and stopped for an academic year. During the stay they noticed how outdated Iraq's education system had become.
Huddersfield Technical College staff have since led efforts to help rebuild the education system.
The Virtual Learning Experience scheme allows Tech students to share resources with universities in northern Iraq.
The Technical College hopes teachers from Iraq will come here this summer to learn English.
The project has been supported by the Association of Colleges, the British Council and Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority.
Dr Asmat Khalid, the chancellor of the Council of Kurdish Universities, recently visited Huddersfield.